Tag Archives: Lightweight

Beneil Dariush withdraws from UFC Vegas 49 main event, Bobby Green replaces him

UFC Vegas 49 has hit a major road block after Beneil Dariush was forced to withdraw from the main event with an ankle injury.

Dariush was scheduled to face off with Islam Makhachev in a huge lightweight title eliminator bout, with the winner expected to face the winner of Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje later this year.

But with Dariush out, the UFC have moved quickly to replace him in the bout and Bobby Green will step in on just ten days notice to take the fight.

Green most recently fought at UFC 271 last weekend, earning a unanimous decision victory over Nasrat Haqparast on the main card with an impressive striking performance.

It was his fifth win in his last seven bouts and a second consecutive victory, having knocked out Al Iaquinta in the first-round at UFC 268 in November previously.

But he will step into the cage to fight Makhachev, who many see as the next champion in the division, on a nine-fight win streak and ready to challenge for the championship.

Due to the short notice nature of the bout, it will be contested at a 160-pound catchweight according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

Dariush’s injury was said to have happened just this week, with Okamoto claiming to have been present at the gym when the incident took place.

He says as Dariush went for a takedown in training, his toe got caught in the mat and as he and his partner’s weight came crashing down it left his foot in a very awkward position and thus causing some quite ‘severe’ damage.

There is no time-frame on Dariush’s return to the octagon, however it seems as though his chances of getting into the title picture in the immediate aftermath are now in doubt.

A win for Makhachev will likely cement his place as the number one contender for the title later this year, but a win for Green could see one of the most remarkable MMA stories in recent years.

As of writing, Green isn’t even ranked in the UFC lightweight rankings but will be taking on the number four fighter in the world.

UFC Vegas 49 is scheduled to take place at the Apex Centre in Las Vegas on February 26th.

UFC 274 gets second title fight as co-main event

The UFC have announced a second exciting title fight for UFC 274 as Charles Oliveira will fight Justin Gaethje for the lightweight belt.

The two are set to go to war at 155-pounds following both fighter’s successful bouts at the end of 2021.

Justin Gaethje confirmed himself as number one contender with a unanimous decision win over Michael Chandler at UFC 268 in the fight of the year, while Oliveira retained his title by submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 269.

It’s expected to be one of the very best lightweight fights in history, with two absolute warriors going to war over the undisputed title.

Gaethje has challenged for the belt before, but was submitted by Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 on Fight Island in ‘The Eagle’s’ final bout before retiring and vacating the title.

Oliveira is now on a ten-fight win streak which includes wins over Tony Ferguson at UFC 256 and Chandler to win the title at UFC 262 prior to the victory against Poirier.

The card is expected to take place in Brazil, with the UFC looking to go abroad for a pay-per-view for the first time since before the pandemic (barring trips to Fight Island).

That isn’t confirmed however and the location is still yet to be officially announced.

Gaethje was recently interviewed by BT Sport about the potential fight, where he he mentioned wanting “all the chaos” that came with a title fight in the champion’s home country.

The card will also see the first defence of Glover Teixeira’s light heavyweight championship, when he takes on Jiri Prochazka at 205-pounds having won the title at UFC 267 in October.

The UFC 274 card is scheduled to take place on May 7th 2022.

Who will be a male UFC champion at the end of 2022?

The UFC returns to title fights this weekend at UFC 270 when the heavyweights and flyweight strap is on the line.

Both of those belts changed hands in 2021, as Francis Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 and Brandon Moreno submitted Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 263.

We also saw a new bantamweight, lightweight and light heavyweight champion crowned during the year, so how will 2022 pan out? Lets take a look.

Flyweight (125lbs) – Askar Askarov

Flyweight is one of the better divisions in the UFC right now and I think we’ll once again see a new champion crowned at some point in 2022.

Askar Askarov has been undefeated throughout his career with a 14-0-1 record, with the only draw coming in his UFC debut against… Brandon Moreno. Askarov will get his title shot by the end of the year, and his wrestling is too good for anyone to be able to navigate past him so I think he holds the belt come 2023.

Bantamweight (135lbs) – Petr Yan

The only reason Yan isn’t the champion right now is because he got over excited and threw a knee to a downed Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259. He was winning the first fight quite comfortably at the time, so the fight was re-made for later in the year.

Sterling was forced to withdraw and it’s now set for UFC 273 in April, which means Yan will head into the summer as champ. He’ll likely defend the strap at the end of the year against TJ Dillashaw in a brilliant fight, but I think he edges that and takes a huge boost in credibility this year.

Featherweight (145lbs) – Max Holloway

What a division, and what a title fight that awaits us later this year.

Alexander Volkanovski defended the belt successfully in 2021 with a dominant win over Brian Ortega at UFC 266 and was set to fight Max Holloway at UFC 272 until the Hawaiian got injured and saw it get cancelled.

If Volk can see off the Korean Zombie at UFC 273 now in the new bout, he will face off against Holloway at some point in 2022 and I think ‘Blessed’ finally gets his win over the Aussie to reclaim the title.

Lightweight (155lbs) – Islam Makhachev

Arguably the most exciting division in the company right now when it comes to the title picture, I’m predicting yet another new champion at lightweight.

Charles Oliveira claimed the crown at UFC 262 when he beat Michael Chandler, then defended it successfully when he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 269. He’ll now fight Justin Gaethje at some point in 2022, and the winner will fight the winner of Beneil Dariush vs Islam Makhachev at UFC Vegas 49 in February.

I think Makhachev gets the victory there, then gets the victory in the title fight too to fulfil Khabib Nurmagomedov’s prophecy that he will become champion and rule over the division for a long time to come.

Kamaru Usman of Nigeria reacts after his victory over Gilbert Burns of Brazil in their UFC welterweight championship fight during the UFC 258 event...

Welterweight (170lbs) – Kamaru Usman

The best in the world right now pound-for-pound, and I don’t see that changing in 2022.

Usman went 3-0 in 2021 with wins over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258, Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 and Colby Covington at UFC 268 and is now not expected to return to the cage until the summer.

That means one or two fights at most this year, with Leon Edwards certainly one of them, and I don’t see him losing to anyone so soon so I think he holds onto the belt yet again.

Middleweight (185lbs) – Israel Adesanya

The best middleweight in the world and one of the best of all-time, Israel Adesanya will be the 185-pound champion when we enter 2023.

His biggest test will come in February when he faces Robert Whittaker in a rematch at UFC 271, which I think he’ll win again. With that said though, a loss will almost certainly result in a rematch later in the year with their personal series set at 1-1 and he’d then reclaim the belt there.

Either way, ‘The Last Stylebender’ will be the champ when 2022 closes.

Light Heavyweight (205lbs) – Jiri Prochazka

This division isn’t particularly stacked at the top end but one thing it does have is a pathway for the title picture.

Glover Teixeira dethroned Jan Blachowicz at UFC 267 to finally claim the strap, but it feels short-lived because he’s due to take on the killing machine that is Jiri Prochazka next and that means he probably gets violently finished.

Aleksandar Rakic and Magomed Ankalaev are likely to find themselves in contention too by the end of the year, but stylistically none of them suit a fight with ‘Denisa’ and he holds the throne until 2023.

Jiri Prochazka of the Czech Republic poses on the scale during the UFC 267 official weigh-in at Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island on October 29, 2021 in...

Heavyweight (265lbs) – Ciryl Gane

The big boys are in the best shape they’ve been in, maybe ever, in the UFC right now and it’s created arguably an amazing year in the division in 2022.

Ciryl Gane will take on Francis Ngannou this weekend and a fight with Jon Jones seemingly awaits the winner. Stipe Miocic is likely to return at some point this year too and head for the title once again.

With Miocic back as well as Jones and Ngannou’s contract situations there are plenty of routes to the title this year, but ultimately they all end with ‘Bon Gamin’ as the heavyweight champion of the world heading into 2023.

Fights to make in 2022 – Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 3

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.

It feels like something that’s been spoken about for years, but there has arguably never been a better time to make the Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz trilogy fight.

Their first fight was stumbled upon by pure chance during McGregor’s incredible rise to – excuse the pun – notorious status in the sport. It was at a point in his career where he genuinely would fight anyone, anywhere and at any weight.

Diaz was a big name for his street demeanour, but he wasn’t quite a ‘needle mover’ yet. By the time their rematch rolled around, that was totally different though.

With both guys coming off successive defeats and not involved in any sort of title picture in their respective divisions, then you may as well set it up.

McGregor’s defeats to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264 showed that he is still an elite striker, but Poirier’s well-roundedness was able to win the day in the end on both occasions.

While Diaz is an excellent grappler in his own right, he is a guy who will look to pressure his opponent on the feet and just straight bang it out.

That would suit McGregor greatly as a comeback fight, with his leg unlikely to be tested too much due to the boxing-heavy approach that Diaz likes to take to his fights.

It’s a fight that could easily headline a pay-per-view card and would likely be the highest-selling card of the year if it happened. Add to the fact that it could happen at either 155-pounds or 170-pounds and you have plenty of possibilities going forward.

Ultimately, this would be a fight for the fans. There’s no real implications behind it other than one of them getting bragging rights and back into the win column. For the other, the end is probably nigh.

The ultimate fan encounter between the two biggest stars in the sport, make it happen Uncle Dana.

Fights to make in 2022 – Charles Oliveira vs Justin Gaethje

After the absolutely incredible fight year that was 2021, 2022 is promising to be bigger, better and badder than ever before in the UFC.

There will be title fights, shocking upsets, incredible wars and new rivalries created throughout the year, but there are some that already spilling over from this year.

With that, we’re going to name you ten fights that the UFC should make in 2022 at some point to give the fans the ultimate fight experience.

Kicking off our fights to see in 2022, it’s one that we’ve already pretty much had guaranteed is going to happen next at the top of the lightweight division.

After a huge win at UFC 268 over Michael Chandler in one of the fights of the year, Justin Gaethje is the man who is considered as the number one contender to the undisputed title.

That title is held by Charles ‘Du Bronx’ Oliveira, after he submitted Dustin Poirier at UFC 269 the following month in order to ensure that he is seen as ‘the man’ at 155-pounds.

This fight now is one that has got the entire MMA world on it’s feet, waiting for a date to be announced so that we can all be glued to our television sets at home.

Much like both of their previous fights, this one is guaranteed to be an all-action bout that will be exciting no matter where it takes place.

Gaethje will almost certainly have the advantage on the feet and after seeing both Chandler and Poirier hurt Oliveira and dropped him with strikes in his two title fights, he will feel he can get the job done as he is the power puncher of the division.

Oliveira will be very aware of that and will take his own encouragement from watching Gaethje’s last undisputed title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254, when he was dominated on the ground and submitted in the second round.

But this will once again be a fight between the two very best fighters in the world in their weight division, and there is nothing better than that for a fight fan.

At some point in 2022 this one will take place, and we can’t wait for it.

Tap Ins & Tap Outs 2021 Awards – Fighter of the Year

An amazing year of fights has come to an end and that means it’s time to hand out the annual awards for the fight game.

After 509 fights in 2021 after the global pandemic was worked around, the UFC produced some amazing fights with incredible moments throughout the year. But which were the best? Who was the best?

For our second annual end of year awards, we’ll be handing out the honours for each of the following categories:


3. Ciryl Gane (3-0 in 2021)

It’s has been a great year for the heavyweight division and the man leading the charge for the new generation is none other than Ciryl Gane.

The undefeated Frenchman came into the year knowing that he had the opportunity to make a charge towards the top of the division and he took it with both hands.

He started the year by cruising to a decision win over the dangerous Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC Vegas 20, before yet another dominant display against Alexander Volkov got him into the top five of the rankings.

With the UFC keen to get a title fight for UFC 265, Gane stepped in to fight Derrick Lewis for the interim belt and seamlessly picked him apart for a vicious second-round knockout of ‘The Black Beast’.

3-0 against top contenders without barely a scratch, 2021 is the year ‘Bon Gamin’ really made an impression and he’ll get the chance to become the undisputed champion at UFC 270 against former teammate Francis Ngannou.

2. Charles Oliveira (2-0 in 2021)

It’s been one hell of a journey for Charles Oliveira but he finally made it to the top of the mountain this year and made sure nobody could question him.

After eight wins in a row, Oliveira got his chance at the undisputed title after Khabib’s retirement was confirmed and he took on Michael Chandler at UFC 262. After almost getting stopped in the first-round, ‘Du Bronx’ recovered and stopped Chandler himself with a crisp left-hook just seconds into the second round to claim the belt.

There were question marks over whether his reign was legitimate though because he didn’t beat the previous champion or number one contender to claim it, but a brilliant performance at UFC 269 saw him submit Dustin Poirier brilliantly to make sure all those doubts disappeared.

The best lightweight in the world, with two stoppage wins in title fights against against top competition, Oliveira had one hell of a 2021.

1. Kamaru Usman (3-0 in 2021)

How do you top top two stoppage wins in two title fights? You add another title fight victory to your tally for the year, duh.

That’s what Kamaru Usman did this year, to further separate himself from the pack at 170-pounds and put forward a legitimate claim to be the best welterweight of all-time.

A beautiful knockout win over Gilbert Burns at UFC 258 was quickly followed up by a stunning KO against rival Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 to cement himself as the best in the world. He then capped off the year with a war against long-time rival Colby Covington in yet another rematch at UFC 268, where he earned a unanimous decision win once again to stretch his unbeaten streak in the UFC to a record 13.

Undoubtedly the pound-for-pound best fighter in the UFC currently, Usman had the best year of his career to date and takes the fighter of the year award.

It’s now or never for Dustin Poirier to become champion at UFC 269

If you ask MMA and UFC fans around the world who the current best lightweight in the world is, the chances are that Dustin Poirier will be the name you hear back at you.

The current number one ranked 155-pounder will step into the octagon for the third time in 2021 in the main event at UFC 269, looking to make it an undefeated year after consecutive wins over Conor McGregor at UFC 257 and UFC 264.

It will be his third title fight in the UFC and his second attempt to gain undisputed gold in the organisation, but this could be his final chance too.

When Poirier first challenged for gold in the UFC he was successful, dominating Max Holloway in a five-round war at UFC 236 to become the interim lightweight champion after a run of six fights undefeated prior to that (5-0, one no contest).

That set up a highly anticipated fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov five months later in Abu Dhabi, where his guillotine choke in the third round was the closest anyone has ever come to beating ‘The Eagle’.

Ultimately though, it ended in defeat when Khabib took his back against the cage and locked in a rear-naked choke to force the tap in the same round.

At the time of that fight, Poirier had been through wars and battled back from demons to get to where he was. He was now 30-years-old and the champion was seemingly invincible. His chance had gone.

Interim UFC lightweight champion Dustin Poirier reacts at a news conference after losing a title unification bout against UFC lightweight champion...

Fast forward a year and Khabib retired, while Poirier earned a brilliant win in yet another war of attrition against Dan Hooker to keep himself in contention.

As Khabib’s career hung in the balance as Dana White tried to convince him to have one more fight, Poirier’s star ascended thanks to a knockout win over McGregor in January. At this point, it was cemented – Poirier was the number one contender regardless of what Khabib decided to do.

When he chose to retire, Poirier was offered the title fight but instead turned it down in favour of a trilogy bout with the ‘Notorious’ one, further delaying his title shot.

Now just a few weeks before his 33rd birthday, Poirier steps into the cage for a 35th time and a 27th time under the UFC banner. With the way the lightweight division is set up currently, any fight beyond this one will be against an absolute killer.

Dustin Poirier celebrates after recieving the title belt from UFC President Dana White during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019...

A win means he’ll have a target on his back but he will be recognised as the absolute best in the world. He will surely relish the challenge and thrive in the pressure as he has done in all his most recent bouts.

A defeat though and it could potentially be the final nail in the coffin for any hopes he has of becoming the undisputed champion.

The list of fighters waiting for their shot is long and after two failed attempts, he would have to do something special to get back to the top of that mountain.

In one of the most stacked divisions in the company right now, it’s now or never for ‘The Diamond’ to shine brighter than he’s ever shone before and become the world champion.

Charles Oliveira can legitimise claim of best in the world with a win over Dustin Poirier

The MMA world will stand still at UFC 269 this weekend as the lightweight championship is on the line in the main event when Charles Oliveira takes on Dustin Poirier.

After a period of uncertainty at the start of the year at the top of the division, 155lbs will finally see the champion take on the number one contender to stabilise the pack.

For champion Oliveira though, this is a chance for him to legitimise his title reign after the stellar journey he took to hold the belt in the first place.

Oliveira made a run for the title with a stunning eight-fight win streak en route to his fight with Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May.

Wins over Clay Guida, Christos Giagos, Jim Miller, David Teymur, Nick Lentz and Jared Gordon led him to a first UFC main event as a lightweight against Kevin Lee just as the COVID pandemic struck.

It was the first event to be held behind closed doors, but that didn’t stop ‘Du Bronx’ claiming a brilliant submission win via guillotine when he caught Lee unprepared in the third round.

Beating a ranked guy meant Oliveira was now calling for bigger names, and he was given that with a bout against former interim champion Tony Ferguson at UFC 256.

Charles Oliveira of Brazil attempts to submit Tony Ferguson in their lightweight bout during the UFC 256 event at UFC APEX on December 12, 2020 in...

This was a Ferguson who had just seen his record-breaking win streak snapped by Justin Gaethje and was hungry to get back to winning ways. Oliveira completely dominated him though, using his wrestling and jiu-jitsu to control him for 15 minutes straight and earn his victory.

That led to the fight between Oliveira and Chandler for the belt, but only because Khabib Nurmagomedov made his decision to retire final and Poirier opted to fight Conor McGregor for a third time.

The circumstances surrounding the match up had many believing that the champion of the division after UFC 262 wasn’t necessarily the best lightweight in the world.

But now that won’t be the case. Oliveira has earned the belt and Poirier is undoubtedly the number one man in the division, so the winner of this fight will be seen as the undisputed number one lightweight in the world.

Charles Oliveira of Brazil holds the belt after defeating Michael Chandler during their Championship Lightweight Bout at the UFC 262 event at Toyota...

They will have immediate challenges, with Justin Gaethje set for the next shot while Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev will go head to head in 2022, but this the moment for Oliveira.

A win here and there is no debate. He isn’t a placeholder between Khabib and Poirier’s reign, he is the legitimate best 155-pounder in the UFC.

Kevin Lee released by the UFC

Former lightweight interim title contender Kevin Lee has been released from his UFC contract after eight years with the company.

Lee has lost his last two fights and four of his last five, with his only win since May 2018 coming via a head-kick knockout against the then-undefeated Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244.

‘The Motown Phenom’ was recently suspended for six months by USADA after failing a drug test, which he attributed to medication he takes for ADHD.

Lee was a popular figure on his rise through the promotion, racking up a record of 16-2 at one point with notable victories of Francisco Trinaldo and Michael Chiesa via submission.

Those victories earned him a lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216, where he was submitted in round three after coming into the bout with a staph infection.

He bounced back from that with a win over Edson Barboza in a main event bout, but his poor run followed that. His most recent appearance came at UFC Vegas 35 where he was beaten via unanimous decision in a welterweight bout by Daniel Rodriguez.

Lee’s inactivity in recent years has been an issue, fighting just four times since 2019 and just once in each of the last two years.

The decision to release him from his contract certainly comes as a shock to many, but at 29-years-old he still has plenty of time to rejuvenate his career elsewhere and potentially make a return.

His name still has star power and somewhere like Bellator or ONE Championship will surely be interested in bringing him in now that he is a free agent.

Conor McGregor reveals expected return date

The UFC won’t be without the Notorious one for much longer, after Conor McGregor revealed when he expects to be able to compete once again.

The former two-weight world champion is coming off the back of successive losses for the first time in his career, following defeats to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264 in July.

However the most recent loss was marred by a gruesome leg injury at the end of the first round which forced the fight to be stopped by doctors.

McGregor landed a kick to the body of Poirier but his shin caught the elbow of ‘Diamond’. As he placed his foot back down to throw a strike, his leg broke under his weight and he collapsed to the canvas in pain.

The doctor stopped the fight but McGregor was adamant that he would return for revenge against Poirier, who made it 2-1 in their trilogy after previously earning a KO win in January.

After months of back and forth with several people on social media, McGregor was now revealed that he expects to be cleared for full sparring in April and should be able to return to action soon after.

The 33-year-old had immediately been earmarked for a return in the summer of 2022 following his injury, but there had been reports that his recovery had been going better than expected.

It now seems that those reports were wide of the mark though, with the timeline for his recovery seemingly in line with initial expectations.

His next fight is up in the air though. His wish for an immediate fourth bout with Poirier seems unlikely given that he will be challenging for the lightweight championship on December 11th, while Justin Gaethje is already essentially confirmed as being next in line for the winner of that fight with Charles Oliveira.

Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev are confirmed to be fighting each other in February now, which leaves open potential bouts against Michael Chandler or even Max Holloway for the summer.